I never used to be a feta person -- the regular stuff is too strong (though I do like other strong cheeses.) However, I've discovered the raw feta from Keswick Creamery, which is sold at my local farmer's market, and the feta from Blue Ridge Dairy, which is so creamy and delicious I've been putting it with everything possible, or just eating it as a snack, since first tasting it on Sunday, lol.
I had a cheese dinner a few years ago where I tried to match a cheese with wine and an accompaniment from it’s region. For example:
Wine: Northern Rhone (Syrah)
Accompaniment: Regional Salami
Wine: Blanc du Blanc Champagne
Wine: Pinot Nero (Noir)
Accompaniment: Green Tomato Sauce
Region: Loire Vallee
Wine: Regional Pinot Gris
Accompaniment: Caraway seeds
I also added what kind of milk that the cheese was made from.
In some cases the pairings worked while in others it didn’t but it was all very interesting.
I am trying to plan my Christmas cheeseboard at the moment.
I am thinking of comte, manchego, caprini fresci, zulu koloria, morbier, fleur de marquis, camembert calvados and epoisses with quince "cheese" and walnuts.
I remembered another delicious sheep cheese, wigmore. so good when it is ripe, especially with cox apples.
I live in Seattle and for a short stint worked for a company called Beecher's Cheese http://www.beechershandmadecheese.com/
it is located in Pike Place Market on the water in downtown Seattle. Pretty cool, the kiddos can even watch them make cheese!
I love eating cheese but need to do a better job committing all the names to memory!
I will say this much: one of my favorite combinations in the world (for an appetizer) is a wedge of cambazola and roasted garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with good, artisan bread.
mimolette is incredible looking isn't is? It's the ahrdest cheese to cut with a wire in the world though. my username is taken form my favourite blue cheese. it is from the basque region and they sold it in the shop I worked in but as far as I am aware it is the only shop in britain that sells it.
I was introduced to all the cheese I love by tasting the things in my local cheese monger's case.
Blues are my favourite catagory and I really haven't met one I didn't like. I've been known to do a full tray of nothing but blues and serve up some good Tokaji and Sauterne. But, if forced to choose, my top choices are:
Creamy: Smuggler's Blue (richer, almost stilton), St. Agur and Bleu D'Auvergne
Sweet: Gorgonzola Dolce
Salty/Sharp: Cabrales or Valdeon
Hards and semi-hards:
Mimolette -- especially the extra old for its hazelnut and fruit undertones.
A certain 10 year old Gouda my local perveyor carries -- tasted much like mimolette for 1/2 price.
Taleggio, Mi Careme, Rouy
Not a general fan of this catagory as I dislike the musty note in many, particularly French, semi-softs or soft cheese.
I guess I'm a caseophile.
A few of my favorite cheeses would be for a mild cheese. Fromager d'Affinois, a mild soft cheese, similiar to Brie. It taste good with walnuts or a red pepper jelly. Also for a mild cheese I like Teleme, which is made in Maine and is dusted with a rice flour; mild with a smooth tart flavor.
For a not so mild cheese I like Blacksticks Blue which is a British Blue cheese colored orange. It has a nice earthy flavor and taste good with honey or sweet apple. I also like Morbier which is a semi-soft cheese with a vegetable flavor. It has a gray line in the middle made of ash. It's pungent and aromatic and is great in sandwiches.
For a strong cheese, I like Valdeon blue cheese from Spain. It's a blend of cow and goat milk, wrapped in chestnut skins; taste tart, and good in salads. Beechtree Mountian is a strong Swiss Cheese and has a assertive flavor that makes the roof of your mouth tingle. Great on its own or in a sandwich. My new favorite in this catagory is Langhe la Tur, made from a combination of sheep, cow, and goat milk. Its soft and spreadable with a buttery texture. Would be great on a cheese plate.
I discovered them by visiting local cheese shops, and cheese farms, tasting and talking to the professionals.
Chowhound is the only discussion board I have time for, and would be curious about what cheese discussion boards are out there.
re: zelu koloria
Yes, I use it for my twice baked two cheese souffles (with roquefort), I don't think it's that stinky though and as a general rule I don't like washed rind cheeses. Although I do like cider and perry.
My favourite cheese is sadly no longer made (or made as well - possibly) it is/was called pencarrig, a welsh camenbert, truly delicious, slightly nutty and not as pungent as camenbert. Beautiful with apples, first eaten as a dessert option in a Welsh coutnry house. I miss it. (The maker was injured/killed in a tractor accident as far as I am aware and the cheese was never the same when made by others.)
As for cheese board now, Montgomery cheddar (if it's good I'm very picky over my cheddar so might choose another if it's better at the time), Mrs Kirkham's Lancashire (young if possible), Elmhirst (by the Sharpham dairy - I'd get Sharpham itself but no-one in London seems to sell it. Elmhirst is milder and creamer - a beautiful cheese but I prefer Sharpham), probably a rosemary coated peroche (soft goats - my dad thinks it is tasteless). I might also add Colston Bassett stilton (small quantity as I'm not a big blue fan), maybe some mountain gorgonzola (the kind that needs a spoon), possibly some parmesan depending on source and flavour.
The problem I have is that there are too many to choose as I'm missing a ewes cheese, there's no hard or blue goats. There's no gouda which I adore but have to walk past at the supermarket as it is dangerous to my wasteline...
My favorite cheeseboard was at Sheridan's Cheesemonger's shop in Galway. They presented with an Irish cheddar; a very sharp Stilton; a mild brie served with chutney and almonds and grapes. It was perfection. Cheese trays are simple to prepare and lovely to look at. Find a shop that let's you sample and go with what you like; add some fruit and nuts; and some nice wine and you're all set. I happen to like a pear wine with cheese, but it's often difficult to find.